Japan Reinforces Copyright Law for 2010

Effective January 2010, several amendments to the current copyright law will go into effect. There are several clauses included in the revision, but the two main issues are 1) the illegal downloading of copyrighted material, 2) legalization of internet search engine caches.

As for the first amendment, it will no longer be legal to download copyrighted material without the permission of the copyright holder. The current law allows downloading for personal use. However, starting January 2010, the amendment will modify Article 30 of the Copyright Law to remove this clause making both downloading for business and personal use illegal. However, since there are no penalty clauses attached to this revision, the efficacy of this new legislation is questionable.

As for the second amendment, search engine caches and data backup caches will become legal. Although the current law is unclear in this respect, starting January 2010, search engines will be given license to scan and index internet contents without being charged with a copyright violation.

(Posted December 17, 2009)

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